Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is Guitar Hero Endangering Real-Life Shredding?

I say no way. But in Newsweek, Steven Levy considers it a real possibility.

If a teenager can easily become a make-believe guitar hero, does that mean he won't ever bother to master the real thing?
Levy goes on to quote the CEO of Gibson guitars, who notes that learning guitar takes a lot of work, but also that guitar manufacturers are hoping to incorporate (unspecified) technology in their guitars that reduces some of the tedium.
"Building calluses and painstakingly learning all the musical fingering is not creative, but is the discipline to get the creative rewards ... In the future we want to reduce the crap you have to deal with to allow people access to that creativity." It sounds great—just as the Devil's offer must have struck Robert Johnson at the crossroads.
Really? Using technology like Guitar Hero to have fun is like making a bargain with the devil? I suggest that the game actually makes non-musicians more sophisticated listeners. I play guitar, and I have been impressed with how Guitar Hero helps my non-guitaring friends learn to distinguish guitar and bass parts in songs that probably sounded like a confusing mix before. I can imagine that enjoying the game might also lead people to pick up a real guitar and try rocking for real. Maybe this Newsweek story is meant to be sillier than it seems, but it kinda comes across like someone being afraid that all the car driving in games will stop people from becoming Nascar drivers. No one has even determined that real kick-ass guitar abilities are dying out--Guitar Hero has only been out for a little more than a year, afterall. But doesn't the popularity of hip hop seem much more likely to endanger shredding than a game that actually encourages fondness for guitar rock?

[via Kotaku]

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